Hi there! Thanks for stopping by to learn a bit more about sustainable hair care. We’re going to focus on two products I’ve just started using: the Heali Kiwi shampoo bar and the Guardian conditioner bar, both by Ethique.
I found out about the sustainable personal care brand, Ethique, through my friend Tessa’s wonderful sustainability blog, Grown Acorn. Her website has been a wonderful wealth of knowledge and advice in learning more about waste reduction and the incorporation of environmentally-friendly practices into daily life. It’s helped me more easily transition into an environmentally-conscious lifestyle.
Now, onto shampoo and conditioner bars!
There are a lot of choices when picking a bar shampoo/conditioner brand, and the most important variants to consider are the ingredients list… another important factor to consider is the bar’s pH value.
Ethique’s bars are pH-balanced to the human head’s preference, cleaning thoroughly without disturbing our hair follicles or scalps. Those with sensitive skin or dry hair may find their ailments alleviated, which were aggravated by alkaline products—our skin and hair like to be slightly acidic, between 4.5 to 5.5.
See their comprehensive list of ingredients here. They are all naturally-derived, and don’t include any parabens. It is SLS free, instead using the much milder surfactant SCS (sodium coco sulfate) that’s commonly in baby products and sensitive skincare formulations.
Their product integrity alone isn’t the only thing that’s fantastic about Ethique. Their business models and values they practice combined make them a great choice! Besides plastic-free packaging, they specifically design their bars to be cruelty-free: palm-oil free, and vegan. They act sustainably outside of their products environmentally and ethically. From their website:
“Ethique is a proudly certified sustainable business and we’ve got our badge to prove it. We’re NZ’s highest scoring BCorp (the fair trade symbol of the business world) as well as both a carbon neutral and living wage employer. To put our money where our mouths are, each year 20% of our profit goes to charities fighting alongside us to protect the planet.”
On recommendation, I nabbed the hair sampler kit. The kit includes 5 of their haircare products in heart-shaped small sizes, how cute! (in order of righthand picture):
- Wonderbar (conditioner)
- oily/normal hair & scalp
- The Guardian (conditioner)
- dry, damaged, frizzy hair & scalp
- St. Clements
- oily scalp/hair
- Heali Kiwi
- dandruff, sensitive scalp
- Frizz Wrangler
- dry/frizzy hair
Added note: Unlike my other product reviews, I won’t rate these products with star ratings! Based on their ingredients list, Ethique’s bars are top-tier… however each bar is tailored to different needs. Personal care items like these are pretty subjective, given that everyone’s bodies react differently to different products. This means that my 5-star, holy grail product can be someone’s 1-star product that breaks them out! Therefore, there will be no star-ratings today. Please take into account my honest review of these products in relation to my own hair/scalp-type.
My hair type is rather dry, slightly frizzy with natural waves, and I suffer from eczema on some parts of my dry, sensitive scalp. Based on their descriptions I tried the Frizz Wrangler and Heali Kiwi shampoos, and The Guardian conditioner.
I tried out the Frizz Wrangler only for a few washings, but each time it left my scalp and excema less than pleased. My scalp doesn’t like heavy products despite being dry and sometimes flakey, and Frizz Wrangler is extremely rich in coconut oil and cocoa butter—albeit very moisturizing, they aren’t suitable for me. My hair felt weighed down after just one post-shower day.
Heali Kiwi alleviated my dryness. Lathers richly, rinses out well; my scalp never feels coated or heavy. I’ve used the speckled bar almost 2 months, my eczema is calmer than ever before! It flares up time to time due to excessive sweating from weather or physical activity, but these don’t seem to be related to this shampoo bar (my eczema spots are OK during periods between showers when I don’t get sweaty). One downside to the Heali Kiwi shampoo is how it softens/disintegrates rather fast in water compared to Frizz Wrangler. I work around this by saturating my hair completely and rubbing the dry bar onto my wet strands without letting the bar get hit by the shower’s spray. Despite this drawback, I really like this product! I purchased the full-size version already.
The Guardian is one of the two conditioner bars that Ethique offers. Using this product has noticeably softened my medium-length hair, decreasing frizzyness which most likely came from my region’s hard water levels and/or my previous conditioner’s pH level. This is the softest my hair has ever been without any heat styling. I’m incredibly pleased with the results!
From my observations, the conditioner bars use much less product per wash than the shampoo bars (I’m speculating this may be due to the lathering quality the Shampoos have but the Conditioners lack). While I’ve already used up my sample of Heali Kiwi and ordered the full-size product, I’m still using my little green Guardian heart—however, as I write this it’s at the end of its lifespan and I’ll need to order it in full-size soon.
It can be challenging switch from a bottled, liquid conditioners to a bar because application takes a touch longer to distribute through the hair. Conditioner bars in particular must be swiped down the hair’s lengths: those with longer or thicker hair trying to saturate their locks fully may find this method time-consuming, although with my current length I don’t mind the slight application increase. With time, using bars will make one develop ways to use them as quickly and efficiently as they can.
It’s been incredibly easy to become more environmentally-conscious in the bathroom with ethique’s bar shampoos and conditioners. Both the earth and my hair are happier for it!
The full-size bars run between $16.00-$18.00 USD, which may seem expensive to some. Considering that the extra dollars are going towards sustainably-sourced, fair trade ingredients, they are well worth the cost! And besides, bars last much longer because they are concentrated formulas and are easier to pack during travel. I highly recommend trying out ethique’s hair sampler as an introductory step into the world of bar shampoos and conditoners. Thanks for reading~!
Originally published on my old blog, The Plant That Never Blooms (on Blogspot)